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Ethiopia: 'Red Terror' war crimes trial begins at The Hague


The war crimes trial of an aide to Ethiopia's former Communist ruler has begun at The Hague in the Netherlands. Eshetu Alemu, 63, is accused of ordering the execution of 75 people during Ethiopia's "Red Terror" purges in the late 1970s.

The former aide to then Communist ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam, is also accused of torture and inhumane treatment. He denies all the charges against him. More than 300 victims have been named in four war crimes charges.

Ethiopia has sentenced him to death in absentia. Prosecutors allege that Alemu, a dual Ethiopian-Dutch national, was a henchman for Mengistu in the north-west Gojjam province. As his trial opened in the Dutch court, Eshetu Alemu said that prosecutors had "the wrong person". "I was really shocked when I heard what prosecutors are accusing me of doing, that I could behave like that as a human being. I deny the charges against me," he told the four judges.

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